Have you lost someone to a medical error?

Going to the doctor when you are sick or suffering from a serious injury is essential for your health and well-being. But could it also be putting you at risk for further injury or even death? Medical errors are a serious problem in the health care industry, and the problems are so entrenched that it might be difficult to find a solution any time soon.

Medical errors can occur in virtually any health care setting. From hospitals to outpatient treatment centers to pharmacies, the problem is widespread and hard to quantify. Unfortunately, because major government agencies do not track medical errors, no one is really sure just how big this problem is.

What is a medical error?

The term medical error can apply to a wide range of actions. An inadequately trained or skilled staff could administer an incorrect medication. A doctor could miss a diagnosis or prescribe an incorrect treatment plan. Technological problems like computer breakdowns can also cause harm to patients.

Medical errors are usually not intentional, but they are often avoidable. When hospitals are short-staffed and technology is failing, health care workers can easily become overwhelmed and make a mistake. It is often up to health care institutions to implement better technology maintenance and to have a full staff, but many still fall short.

Thousands of patients are dying

The Centers for Disease Control is not sure how many patients die from medical errors because they do not collect any relevant data. The CDC collects information on deaths from injuries, morbid conditions and diseases, but not medical errors. However, other agencies and organizations are trying to figure out the hard numbers of this problem.

A 2016 U.S. patient-care study looked at a period of eight years that covered 35,416,020 hospitalizations. During that period of time, medical errors led directly to the deaths of 251,454 patients. Other estimates put the number of medical error fatalities at closer to 440,000 per year. These estimates make medical errors the third most common cause of death in the United States.

Have you lost a family member?

Your loved one probably thought he or she was doing the right thing by seeking medical care. If he or she died because of a provider's error or mistake, then you could be dealing with the emotional and financial repercussions of such a loss. In many situations, Illinois families struggle to fully grieve because they have the burden of unexpected financial issues, such as funeral costs.

Your family does not have to continue struggling alone. Although it can be overwhelming thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, help is available to you. An experienced attorney can more fully explain your options for achieving compensation for medical errors.

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